The "Lazy Alcoholic"
After finishing the Owl-Tenquille Traverse a couple of weeks ago, my friend and I had big plans to step things up a notch and tackle the Alcoholic Traverse this weekend.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
A few days out from the trip, everything seemed to be lining up. The weather was looking good. We had (some) info about the route. We had our gear and food sorted. We even had a pick up for the end of the traverse organized. Unfortunately, over those last few days the forecast deteriorated. By the time we connected on Friday morning, the forecast was calling for clouds (aka potential whiteout conditions) and showers on the weekend. Not exactly what we wanted for a push our comfort zone hike through unknown terrain. Time to reassess.
We considered a few options, ultimately deciding on a one-night adventure exploring the Brew Peak end of the traverse. Given that we were now starting later than expected and that we had already researched the area it seemed to make the most sense. Plus, with a 4x4 access to the alpine was easy. Less than an hour after parking the truck, we found ourselves wandering through alpine meadows. By 11:30 am, we found ourselves up at the Brew Hut, soaking in spectacular views.
Taking off the heavy pack felt amazing. So amazing that we decided to leave the overnight gear near the hut, and explore with the bare minimum – water, food, warm layers and some emergency gear. With our lighter packs, we floated over Hops Peak, barely noticing that we had tagged the summit. A short scramble later we found ourselves on top of Keg. It was barely 1:30.
From Keg, we had a great view of Mt. Fee and the southern portion of the Alcoholic Traverse. Mt. Fee is a rather foreboding looking mountain – especially with grey clouds building up in the background. It’s also surrounded by horrible looking scree slopes. My friend and I quickly agreed that they would be far more appealing covered in snow, and that when we came back to do the Alcoholic Traverse we would do it on skis.
By 3:15 we were back to the Brew Hut. Too early to set up camp, but there was nothing else we really wanted to explore. Do we head down and turn our overnight into a day trip?
Why not? There was a great camping area right near the trail head. I pulled out my phone to see if my boyfriend would like to join us for a campfire, wine and camping. It was very weird being able to make a phone call from the top of a mountain, but sure enough he was keen. With firewood, dinner and wine delivery organized (yes, my boyfriend is awesome) we packed up camp and made our way down.
It wasn’t what we had planned, but every experience teaches you something. Or many things:
Lesson (reminder?) #1: you move WAY faster with a lighter pack.
Lesson #2: some terrain is best tackled on skis. And besides, skiing is more fun ;)
Lesson #3: if it’s possible to do it in a day, do it in a day. Big day trips are more fun than lugging a heavy pack around all day (although that may be personal preference?). Plus, car camping is more comfortable and you can eat better.
Your turn: what did you learn on your last trip?